Insurance Company Denied Coverage After Tenant Murdered
LVT Number: 13767
Facts: Tenant was murdered in landlord's building by unknown attackers. Tenant's family sued landlord, claiming negligent building security. Landlord notified its insurance company. The insurance company claimed that landlord sent notice of the lawsuit to them too late and that it wouldn't provide coverage. Landlord then sued its insurance company to try to force coverage. Landlord claimed that it didn't notify the insurance company of the murder until it was sued because it didn't know until then that it would need insurance coverage. At that point, the insurance company also claimed that, since the murder wasn't an accident, it wasn't an event that was covered under landlord's policy. The court ruled that the insurance company could add this defense and denied landlord's request to rule without a trial on whether the insurance company must provide coverage. Landlord appealed. Court: The appeals court ruled against the insurance company on the issue of whether the murder was an event that should be covered. Although the murder wasn't an accident from the attacker's point of view, it was an accident from the landlord's position, since it was an unusual, unexpected event. However, there was a question of fact concerning whether landlord believed in good faith that no event requiring insurance coverage had occurred until it was sued.
Agoado Realty Corp. v. United Intl. Ins. Co.: NYLJ, p. 25, col. 2 (12/10/99) (App. Div.1 Dept.; Rosenberger, JP, Tom, Rubin, Saxe, Buckley, JJ)